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Blow to shisha lovers as court upholds ban

Shisha smokers will have to contend with the fact that the ban on their beloved pastime may never be lifted.

Justice Roselyn Aburili on Thursday upheld the ban imposed by the Ministry of Health, dealing a blow to efforts to lift it.

Even though Justice Aburili admitted that the manner in which the notice  was enforced in January last year was unprocedural, she ruled that the well-being of Kenyans comes first than social and economic gains of shisha businessmen.

HARMFUL EFFECTS

“The ban on shisha though irregular shall remain in force as this court cannot gamble with the health and future of generations of Kenyans,” she said.

Having defended the health of Kenyans, the judge did not spare the State. She reprimanded it for issuing the shisha ban without sensitising and educating the public on the dangers of consuming the commodity.

She, therefore, ordered the government to comply with the required regulations in nine months and that the necessary regulations should be tabled before Parliament for approval before implementation.

“I decline to invalidate the rules but it is the duty of the State to take protective measures without having to wait until negative effects manifest,” she ruled.

LEGAL NOTICE

The ban on shisha was imposed by former health CS Cleopa Mailu on December 28, 2017, making the country the third in the region to enforce such a rule after Tanzania and Rwanda.

According to the judge there is a greater public interest in protecting and enforcing public health from harmful effects and practices associated with shisha consumption.

The judge further ruled that the CS failed to disclose to the court the intention to table the legal notice before Parliament for debate.

As for the businessmen, she said there was no evidence to show that shisha business is unlicensed.